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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Packages for kitesurf and windsurf lovers!


Hi, there! This post is made specially for windsurfers and kitesurfers... who would like to visit new places!
In Margarita Island, El Yaque Beach... is the 5th best place in the World to practice these kinds of sports... This place has contantly winds of 25 knots and 29º C temperature every single day, whole year!
Bellow, there are packages air tickets + accommodatio and also renting of equipment. Packages are made with accommodation in Hotel California... this hotel is in front of El Yaque Beach (you just have to cross the street), there is swimming pool and breakfast included in the room rate. Bedrooms in the 1st and 2nd floors have swimming pool view and bedrooms in the 3rd and 4th floors have sea view (they are a little bit more expensive than the ones in 1st and 2nd floors).

We recomend for people who are coming to the Island looking for this kind of entertainment, staying already in El Yaque Beach, because Island is very big and transportation to there every time may be expensive plus time wasted.


Packages for 2 people valid from July, 15th until September, 20th include:
- air tickets Caracas/ Margarita/ Caracas
- 5 nights/ 6 days of accommodation (in bedrooms with swimming pool view)
- transfer airport/ hotel/ airport in Margarita Island.
  Price: US$735
  Same package for 2 people during 7 nights/ 8 days costs US$ 941




Renting Windsurf´s equipment:



     Begginers             Kids     Advanced      Insurance
1 hour 19 13 37 25
2 hours 25 20 49 25
1/2 day 31 25 55 25
1 day 43 31 73 25
2 days 80 55 140 25
3 days 116 73 200 31
4 days 140 85 267 37
5 days 175 97 302 43
6 days 206 110 326 49
7 days 242 121 362 55

Ps. There is a package for begginers 1 instruction hour + 3 hours by yourself which costs US$ 61.
      All prices in the charge above is in US$.


Renting Kitesurf´s equipment:

- Basic course 6 hours ( 2 or 3 days) US$ 272
- Intermediate course 8 hours ( 3 or 4 days) US$333
- Complete course 10 hours ( 4 or 5 days) US$378
- For those who practice this sport already... 2 hours (under boat supervision, equipment and insurance) costs US$ 69.


Wakeboard:

Package 1:
30 min, maximum 2 people, price: US$ 31.
Package 2:
1 hour, maximum 4 people, price: US$ 61.

For further information, write to us giovannacastellao@gmail.com

In the Island, there are a lot of other kinds of  entertainment, please, check our post Things to do in Margarita Island.  


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Travel tips to go to Venezuela!

Hi  there!

Afer getting lots of emails asking about traveling to Venezuela, we decided to compile some of them in this kind of Frequently Asked Questions post. in this way we hope to help many people planning to travel to this Country. If you got more doubts, do not hesitate to contact us, we will answer your questions and update this article with those new FAQ's...

Taxes:
NONE, No matter what your Travel Agency told you, NONE airplane ticket in Venezuela has the Airport Tax included, as the government ordered these taxes must be paid directly in the airports (and ports!) of the Country. So, take into account everytime you take an airplane in Venezuela... after check-in, you must pay this tax part separately, in a proper place for doing so (and properly identified). What is included in the airplane ticket is the Departure Tax, but not, the Airport Tax . Today (25/05/2011) domestic flights tax costs 38 bolivares per person and international flights tax costs 190 bolivares p/p in cash. They do not accept dollars neither credit card.


Connection flights:
Maiquetia Airport, which serves Caracas city (It is not located in Caracas), is divided in two terminals: Domestic and International, so... once you arrive from an international flight, after passing by
Immigration and get your luggage... you must go to the Domestic flights Terminal trough an internal corridor.

It is convenient to combine connections in a way that you have plenty of between both flights (specially on the way leaving) as the domestic flights may delay... actually, It is rare when they are on time.

Remember, after the check-in for your connection, you must go and pay the tax in bolivares (local currency), bellow, we´ll talk about money exchange.



Personal safety:
Margarita, general speaking, is really quite. Being a combination of this Caribbean Island air with a small city (Porlamar), allows us to walk relaxed, but always taking into account basic security tips that you have it follow in any city you are not familiar with. Following advices are the result of a lot of stories and safety procedures we have heard and read around the World... Basically, point is not to  get too much attention on you.
- Try not to use expensive stuff as necklaces, watches, jewelry in general..
- Everywhere you go, ask about risky places/time, we mean, a few areas are just risky after certain time, or in certain conditions. Always, avoid lonely places, specially at night.
- Be relaxed and enjoy your trip, but be alert with suspicious attitudes and people who is watching you (of course, do not get confused If somebody is flirting with you! hehe). Imagine in a pub where everybody is enjoying themselves... in the corner, there is one or two serious guys, just watching everybody... this is the kind of attitude we are talking about.
- If you like to talk and meet new people... do not give too much information about yourself, for example, never say you came to buy 250 blackberries and you have a lot of money in the hotel! And later tell the hotel name and your room number!? You know... just to avoid..
- If you are shopping and you got a car, It is not convenient to let your bags in the car while you continue shopping, please, take your bags with yourself and try to reduce the number of bags.
- In case you must take your bags to the car (for weight or size), leave somebody watching the car, or simply move your car to other location (let people think you are leaving). It is easier to open a trunk than we can imagine.
- Always leave the room windows and door closed and locked (in Trinidad & Tobago, a friend of mine was stolen... somebody entered trough his window in the middle of the night, in the 8th floor!?)

Caracas.
Actually, It is indeed a very dangerous city, but you can go being well advised or If possible, with a local person. Try to get accommodation and entertainment only in good areas. (Altamira, La Castellana, Las Mercedes etc) and If you wish/need to go to downtown ( to see historical places and interesting museums) go early, and If possible, with a local, not wearing jewelry and very alert.
 
In case of a unfortunate situation, keep calm and give everything they ask for, do not contradict and do not make eye contact with the robber.

In case of any event with a police man (possible extorsion), understand your situation... you are ina foreign Country, you do not know the law and have nobody to defend you, but don't worry. just keep keep humility and tranquility at all times, I mean it, give some excuses (reasons?) for whatever you're being acused (speed limit, food or beverage transportation, excess luggage, some 'missing' document etc) and try to get out of the situation in the fastest and cheapest way. If that guy decides to go for his boss, its going to be more expensive.. In Venezuela, there is always a way to solve any of these situations, very often a couple of good excuses and one smile are good enough... so be cool, humble, and remember your goal: get out of the situation as fast as possible.

we've got a couple of files with personal security recommendations originally designed for Oil Industry employees, if you want to, we can email them to you.They can be shocking at first sight but keep in mind it was designed thinking in many cities around the World and is the result of a very experienced people on this matter. 


Money Exchange:
Today, (actually for the last 8 years), access to foreign currency is restricted by the government. This means you can not go to a Money Exchange Office and convert your money into Dollars or any other foreign currency. This situation forced a parallel market with a price quite different from the official-one. If you prefer, you can still go to a Money Exchange Office  and get the official rate (4.30 Bs/US$) or you can search for a transaction in the black-parallel market (7.5 BS/$).

Credit Cards, as any transaction that occurs under legal procedures, will give you official rate (4.3 Bs/US$) minus operational fees.

We specially recommend first option in case you need to take a connection flight. In this case you'll need local currency to pay Airport Tax plus something to eat (maybe).. In any case you shouldn't exchange a lot, just what you need (20$?). We recommend this because the airport is kind of risky for black-market operations and it should be done (at all times) with previously recommended people (if possible).

In any case, if you decide to go for the second and risky option please remember:
- don't worry, you don't need to look for them, they'll come to you (and, many BTW). - take all precautions you might think of!
- exchange only small amounts
- reduce number of notes, accept only 50 and/or 100 Bs. (It's easier to cheat when amiunt is bigger)
- count your money, and keep notes extended
- if possible take a counterfeit pen with you
- if you are not alone, tell the other person to watch around and also watch the exchanger while your are busy counting your money
- do it out of sight of any police but, at the same time don't let them take you to a 'quiet place'

In any case, in this case, we'd prefer to take the first option, remember you are arriving and you are supposed to carry 'a lot of money'..

About second option we talked already and, basically, security steps are the ones we mentioned.
Anyway, we insist money should be exchanged in small amounts, at the same pace you need it,
even so, there are cases in which we get a big doubt: If I don't have security box in my hotel: Should I let all my money there? Should I have it with me at all times?
- well you can split it to split risks
- money you are carrying with you should be distributed, not all in one pocket
- money in the hotel should be locked and hide as well as possible
- we keep it for you hehe

Remember, in any hotel worldwide, personal stuff can be 'missed'... (I have lost even pants during my trips!?)

Another option could be exchange through bank transfers or deposits. In this way you will only carry what you need avoiding problems and making 'withdrawals' whenever you need. In this case you don't need to worry for carrying too much cash (for more information email us).

Well, this has been the compilation of advices and tips we can give to those travelers that wish to visit this land called Venezuela, he hope It's useful for you. If you want to add some comment, request files, or make some donation for this site kidding hehe  share your experience: Go ahead!
Cheers!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Costa Linda Beach Hotel´s new room rates until December 15th, 2011!

Hi! We are offering accommodation in the Costa Linda Beach Hotel in Margarita, located in Playa el Agua.

This hotel is small, comfortable and beautiful in its decoration. It has two swimming pools: one for adults and one for kids, chairs and umbrellas on the beach, satellite TV, A/C, safety box,  Bar Restaurant and gym.

There are 2 kinds of room:
  - Downstairs rooms are cheaper and a little bit smaller.
  - Upstairs rooms are bigger and they have balconies.

Daily rates from July 16, 2011 until September 18, 2011  (per room, per night)

Downstairs:
  - Single           US$84
  - Double         US$87
  - Triple           US$99
  - Quadruple   US$113

Upstairs:
  - Single          US$92
  - Double         US$95
  - Triple          US$108
  - Quadruple    US$120


Daily rates from  September 19 until December 15, 2011 (per room, per night)

Downstairs:
  - Single           US$69
  - Double         US$72
  - Triple           US$84
  - Quadruple    US$97

Upstairs:
  - Single             US$80
  - Double           US$83
  - Triple             US$95
  - Quadruple    US$108

Only exception from October 08, 2011 until October 16, 2011  (per room, per night)

Downstairs:
  - Single           US$84
  - Double         US$87
  - Triple           US$99
  - Quadruple   US$113

Upstairs:
  - Single          US$92
  - Double         US$95
  - Triple          US$108
  - Quadruple    US$120


Notes: 
 If interested, write us to giovannacastellao@gmail.com
 Breakfast included.
 Kids:  0-5 y/o:   Free
 *Prices may vary.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Studying Spanish in Margarita Island!



Planning to learn or improve your Spanish?



Now you can study it and, at the same time, enjoy the amazing beaches of this Caribbean Island!




We got 2 different schools + acommodation packages:

Option 1:

- CELA School (specialized in Spanish for foreigners, located at a beautiful and rich area in Margarita, they offer certificate at the end of each level and the possibility of getting internationally recognized certificates).
- Classes from Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 1pm. Outdoor activities 3 times a week, in the afternoons. Museums, amusement parks and other entrance fees are not included in the price but generally they are very cheap.
Price is US$ 275 per week.


Acommodation:
- In host family, selected by the school administration. All houses are 15 or 20 min away (walk distance)  from the school.

- With own bedroom and bathroom for the student.
- Two home made daily meals included (except for Sundays). 
Price: US$ 231 per week.


Option 2:
- Peter´s Language Institute (teaches many languages including Spanish for foreigners, located in Margarita´s downtown).
- Classes from Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm. (student can choose previously how many hours wants to study per day).
Price: US$ 205 per week.


Acommodation:
- we rent a suite nearby the school for you .
Price: US$ 383 per month.


For further information, mail to:  giovannacastellao@gmail.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

All-Inclusive Hotels, A good choice? Pros and Cons..


Nowadays, this "all inclusive" option is on, and It "looks" like a very good choice to travel but ... still people wonder: Is it worth? Would be better to pay only for bed and eat wherever I'd wish?

Well, whether is a good choice or not basically depends on what you want, the way you travel, budget and your particular expectations about the hotel.

As everything in life, It has its advantages and disadvantages... now we'll show you a list with a few of good and bad points of this kind of accommodation. What do you think about it?:


Pros:

- You pay just one amount. Paying in advance a determined amount that you know you can spend, helps you to keep yourself under your budget, without having to make calculations or  plans to eat, get transportation, sleep and going for tours (eventhough, If you plan a little bit, you can make a package with an "under control" budget).  

- In many cases, they are cheap. If you consider all meals, drinks and entertainment are included in this amount, It ends up being a good deal. A lot of them includes a variety of entertainment as games, sports, dancing classes, exercises classes, beach access, etc...

- It is a good option to relax. In the hotel facilities you will get all you need, so you do not have to go out of the hotel to look for "what to eat today" or enterteinment as you will not get bored even If you stay the whole day, every day in the hotel. They are conceptualized for the client to go straight from the airport to the resort and from the resort to the airport. This is one of the main reasons why this kind of place is ideal for those completely free of stress vacations...

- Based on the previous point, It can be a good choice for those traveling with kids.

- They have nice facilities. A lot of them are located close to the beach (many are far away from downtown), with sea view and/or to the swimming pools. They are projected to stay the whole day "sunbathing".


Cons:

- Not always "all" is really included. You must read very well all conditions and take the decision because, many times some things are out of the package (that we might thing they "obviously" are) like for example, spas, some kinds of drinks or special foods, tips and a few activities. Particularly, here, all inclusive means basically bed, meals, national drinks, internal entertainment and beach facilities (chairs and umbrellas).

- On the other hand, have in mind It is normal spending a money in a few things like tips, souvenirs and things you find really cheaper than back home.

- You could be "stuck" in the hotel. As you have all what you need in only one place and have paid for that, It can make you feel guilty for leaving the hotel, It means you will "miss" that lunch that you paid already or things like that. Plus, many of these hotels are located very far away from downtown and city tours are not included in the room rate. So, will you miss exploring the place and know local culture and people?.

- The tendency is to waste. Sometimes, If things is already paid and there are no limits on the quantity, this makes people feel like consuming things they do not really need. For example, filling a plate of food once more even though you just take a couple of bites and trash the rest, or open a new soap just because the opened one is not close enough to the bathtube and you already paid for it! even knowing you will use it only once.

- Not always they really looks as in the pictures. Of course, many of them have attractive facilities but, in their brochures... as a marketing product, they make them look more beautiful (something like fast food poster pictures hehe). In this way, you could go and find a completely different place from "the photoshoped pictures" you saw. It is always recommended to search for updated reviews about the hotel you are looking foward to stay. 



Certainly, whatever the option you go for, the most important thing is thinking a lot based on your way of travelling, your personal costums and budget. It is always important you feel you made a good deal.

If you think It is worth the price and will not feel guilty for leaving the hotel (or you are not leaving it), or you just really want to relax, so go ahead and choose this option.

If you stay in an all-inclusive and you want to go out and really see the place where you are, you must feel that what you have consumed in the hotel before going out is already worth for the price you paid for this day, or that the price already worth just the room , or you had two extra wine bottles the night before! Whatever, the important thing is not feeling guilty in no way for leaving the hotel! Enjoy and zero stress!  

In case is difficult for you manage this kind of feelings or you wish to go out everyday (or almost every day), then, all-inclusive is maybe not very suitable for you. 

Particularly, we think, in these cases that people want to go out and visit surrounding areas and other places, a better choice is one bed & breakfast, of course, we are generalizing.. as we should study case by case depending on prices and customer´s likes...


Location, distancy, facilities, types of rooms, prices to eat and get transportation out of the hotel, are important issues to balance when It is time to take the final decision.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things to do in Margarita Island! (3/3)

...Continuing our Things to do in Margarita Island´s List:

Margarita has also an important variety at the eating time. They go from very expensive restaurants until very cheap places where you can choose whatever you like to eat: Restaurants especialists in seafood, meat, pastas, pizzas, Ribs, roasted chicken, bakeries, hot dogs, hamburguers, ¨empanadas¨ and many other options, depending on what you are feeling like eating or tasting. Where do you want to have dinner on your first night in Margarita? At Hard Rock Cafe? Or eating beef in a ¨Caney¨ with live popular music?

 

In a caribbean Island where whisky is known for being cheap, you must hang out and party, so check which are the popular pubs and discos at the moment and go ahead...just be carefull not drinking so much If you have SCUBA diving next day early morning.. hehe....

For kids, in the Island... It has Diverland (amusement parks), Parque el Agua (water park with huges slides), and/or Tropical Labyrinth ( a labyrinth made by plants and small animals).




Tropical Labyrinth is also a good option for people who likes to breath fresh air and see a lot of green... there, you will find 17000m2 dedicated to conservate the tropical FLORA AND FAUNA as well as local native animals. Apart from the plants maze, park has got 4 areas where you can find the xerofila zone, flowers, fruits, high humidity micro-environment and plenty animals people can touch.  


For those who likes museums, they will love “Los Pueblos de Margarita”... It is a museum which imitates a small village and show history and what is produced in each zone of Margarita.



In the night life, apart from eating and hanging out, you also can go to a Bingo or a Casino, where you can gamble in a slot machine, Blackjack, roulette or poker..






Margarita, being one of the most important entrances to the country and big pearl producer at colonial time, also has remaining traces of that time. That is why we can find castles and churchs that silently, tell us the history when pirates, colonialists and revolutianaries had been fighting for keeping the control over the Island.. Actually we have got old churchs and new ones, which shows the World, the popular faith that keeps Venezuelan People, always trusting in The Divine God and his Mother, specially represented by our Virgen del Valle..





Last one (to effects of this article) we also have a variety of handcraft that goes from the famous caribbean hammocks until very particular local ornaments as this adorable doll which represents a important part of the Venezuelan Folklore.



We will talk more about specific activities in future articles... but for now... What about you? Have you done any of this tours? Whatelse have you found on the Island? Tell us your experience!


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things to do in Margarita Island! (2/3)

... Continuing with our Things to do in Margarita Island´s list:


In the most popular beaches, you can enjoy a delicious seafood dishes and also can make a little shopping, as there are plenty of walking sellers from whom you can get: fresh oyster, massages, little braids in the hair, accessories, sun glasses, handcraft stuff, jet sky, banana boat, utralight flight, and other things... please notice we've said 'in the most popular ones', there are plenty others where you can enjoy Nature and just relax if you are not in the mood for shopping.

Tours to Coche Island. Either in an music-animated or in very quiet and relaxing catamaran, you can travel to the neighbor Coche Island... to enjoy a different day by its clean waters…

Tours to Cubagua Island. Also made by Catamarans very similar to the ones which go to Coche. Generally, It is included in the package: snorkeling equipment to see sealife in the sinked ship by the Island, also is included: drinks, lunch, chairs and sun umbrellas on the beach (same as Coche)..

Tour to Restinga Lagoon. A beautiful and different tour in a relaxing boat through mangroove channels which ends up in a huge beach...

Tour to the paradise Archipelago de los Roques. If you get this chance, do not throw it away. You will never regret to take it! It is impossible to describe the different blue shades in those wateres. There are very reasonable prices for this kind of tour, you just have to look for it ( or even better: ask us! hehe).


You can stay in hotels you will not feel like going out, with room rates that include all meals, national drinks and a lot of entertainment!

Or you can stay in accommodation much more cheaper.. There are a few where you can cook and save some money... luxury houses to rent... accommodation+breakfast...only accommodation... in other words, a wide variety...

At Yaque beach, very close to the Airport, you can find an ideal place for windsurfing and kitesurfing. In this place, It keeps winds of 25 knots constantly and 29º C temperature the whole year which makes this place one of the World´s top 5 places for these sports practice.

Hey, you like surf, so your beaches will be Guacuco, Parguito, El Agua, Puerto Cruz and Taguantar. aaaallright, there are no huuuge waves on those beaches like the ones from Bali!.... but you can get plenty fun there, and some challenging waves too.

Ok, you don't like beach with waves, so we invite you to visit beaches that looks like a real swimming pool such as Paraíso and  Punta Arenas..

oook, you don't like so much waves and neither so calm as a swimming pool, then you can visit  Playa Caribe, Zaragoza.. point here is that there are plenty beaches for every one....



 ... second post finishing here... next... Things to do in Margarita Island 3/3. To be Continued..

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things to do in Margarita Island! (1/3)

Whenever people is looking for accurate information about Margarita Island, It is quite difficult to get it, at least compacted and/or updated. That is why, we've decided to summarize all kind of activities or things-to-do in Margarita, helping you to plan your trip properly...    
Based on your likes and interests, either you are traveling with your kids, or It is a retired-people trip, a just married couple, young or adult people, you can choose among many options that go from quite tours (like museums, tropical maze, viewpoints) and others with some more action (Diverland, SCUBA diving..), so everybody can enjoy things the thing they like the most...

Margarita Island is well known for its amount and variety of beaches. It is an island in which, almost all its coasts are perfect beaches to be enjoyed by beach lovers. But, more than having a sunny day in one of those beaches... what else can you do on this island? Well, Margarita is not only this, let´s see other kinds of fun you can get:

Pearls! Pearls! Pearls! Margarita is a pearl producing zone and you can have those wonderful pearls for a veeery good price and also huge variety of accessories like collars, bracelets, rings, earings, etc... starting from pearl accessories smaller and cheaper (to give as souvenir!) until bigger and perfect pearls with gold or silver details which are really gorgeous jewlery. My daughter loves all of them!

Going in a tour all around the island. Ideal to get familiar with places, views , geography and other main points. There are many kinds of tours, from private tours for small groups until big group of 4x4 jeep in a convoy...
Riding-horse tours.. there are places, where you can live a nice and beautiful experience, having a morning riding a horse next to your beloveds, through desert beaches and other views. Kids love it and girls find it very romantic!

Swimming with dolphins, one of the few places in the world where you can live this unique and wonderful experience...

SCUBA diving in the neighbor Los Frailes Archipelago. If you are not licensed, do not worry, you can also enjoy this experience... there are professionals taking care of everything for you... or If you prefer, you can go just for snorkeling...

For shopping, island is tax free… which provides to the tourist buying famous brands as Liz Claiborne, Adidas, Nike, Nintendo, PSP’s,  BlackBerry, Diesel, Ray-Ban, Victoria´s Secret, L’Occitane, Tommy Hilfiger,  Lacoste, Dolce & Vita, MNG, GSL, Timberland, Levi´s, Apple, perfums and electronic equipments... for great values! Main places for shopping are 4 de Mayo Avenue and its outlets, Sambil Mall and La Vela Mall.


This article was divided in 3 posts... It was too long!!!  To be continued in Things to do in Margarita Island 2/3
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